Monday, June 22, 2009

Apple on Toothpicks

Here is my contribution to Perfect Moment Monday. Writing this was a perfect moment for me because I was able to articulate publicly how I felt and now feel about my self image.

When I was young, my body was a big issue for me. I was never overweight but had my "problem" areas. It stinks looking back on how badly I felt then. I had myself convinced that I could never wear sleeveless shirts, bikini's, or any sort of form fitting clothing. I lost a lot of brain cells worrying about my body. I know I am not different from many women. Growing up girls face a lot of scrutiny and we are always harder on ourselves than we need to be.

I felt my problem areas were my upper arms and stomach. I carry my weight in my stomach. That can be good and bad at the same time. I have very skinny legs and no hips or butt, BUT the stomach thing was all I could focus on. When I sit down I have two stomachs or rolls (such a lovely term). I would obsess about sitting down and worrying if anyone would catch on that I had fat on my stomach. Geez. How much energy did I waste on this?


In college I gained the usual weight. It wasn't Freshman year though, it was when I lived in Italy while studying abroad. Beer and pasta, need I say more? I was ten pounds overweight in college which isn't all that bad but at 5'3" wasn't all that good either.

Anyway, the point of my little story here is that at some point after I graduated college and my lifestyle changed, I lost those ten pounds, dropped a size and had never felt so good about my body. I still did not have a flat stomach and I still did not have skinny arms, but I began the cathartic process as a woman of accepting my body. I wore clothes with confidence. I didn't constantly worry if a smidgen of fat would show when I sat down.

I didn't care anymore. And, epiphany time here- I realized the boys did not care either!!!

I remember the day that somebody described me as tiny. For as long as I can remember I had a morphed image of what my person looked like. I thought I looked big. The truth is that I was of medium build or as my mother described me, just plain normal for my age. I was not skinny as a rail nor was I overweight. I am a muscular person and have a small to medium build and as stated before I am not tall. That one statement about me changed my entire perspective of myself. I began to see myself for who I really was. Mainly, I stopped beating myself up for not exercising or eating this or that. It seems like the moment I ceased letting this image problem be such an issue, the issue disappeared.

This leads to my title. I cannot take credit for this title. My college roommate and I had the same body type, and she coined this ingenious description of our body style.

Definition: skinny legs, no hips, average chest size B cup, but weight in the stomach region.

We both had nicknames for our guts. Mine was Ralph and hers was Sean. Why they were male names I have no idea. "Oh, Sean is hungry." "Does Ralph really show in this shirt?" We had a sense of humor about it and tried not to take our bodies so seriously (even on the days we were late to class due to fussing over our minimal wardrobes and trying to hide Sean and Ralph)

Apple on Toothpicks will not be listed as one of the body types featured in In.Style or O.prah when they give advice about what clothes look best on whom. There is the hour glass, straight or boyish figure, big busted, bottom heavy. Where is the "all those extra pounds are hidden under that fantastically styled flowy shirt?" (BTW, so love that roomy shirts have been in style for the past 3 seasons. Of coarse now that I think about it, it sucked to wear maternity style shirts when going through infertility. I hated that people might have questioned if I was pregnant or not).

Lycra and stretchy shirts do not enter my shopping bags or my closet. We all have those items of clothing that should remain on the rack because they simply do not flatter our assets. This is why I love the show What Not to Wear. It teaches women to embrace their body instead of scorning it. What a revelation. I am proud of my body type. I find it amusing and often laugh with my mother (where I get my body from) about the wonderment of having 2-3 stomach rolls when I sit down and upper arms that will be flapping in the wind someday. I do my best to keep my weight at a certain level, but I no longer obsess about it. Thank goodness! Life is too short.

Have that extra piece of cake, drink a margarita, go easy on yourself. Healthy living is key and a very good reason to worry about weight. But, you also have to live life, and if that means having "fat pants" that come out every once in awhile, so be it.

I'm off to get another cookie!

Cheers and happy ICLW.


Wendy said...

That's great that you feel better about yourself. I struggle with my own self-image all the time. My body has changed a lot since undergoing IF treatments and dealing with the sadness of it not working for us. I'm trying to change that. I am making small changes and hoping that I'll feel a little better each day.

Beautiful Mess said...

Happy ICLW! I love this post! It's perfect! I've wanted to do a post about body image, I still might. But you did it so beautifully, I might have to link the love to you! I use to obsess about my body too, now I'm ok with it. If I have an extra pound or two, I'm not going too go crazy and stop eating for days on end. I'm glad you found out you are so beautiful and you love who YOU are! Good for you!

Kristin said...

What a wonderful post. It sounds like you really have a handle on your body image and so many women never reach that state.

Country Girl said...

I am just loving reading your blog. It's like reading something I would post if I had time to devote to blogging like I would like to. I totally understand your weight "issues" I have struggled my entire life although I have "thunder thighs" lol Since my complete hysterectomy in March of this year though I am developing a gut. I'm good with it though and know that I'm at a super place in my life and things can only go up from here. Kudos to you and your blog! I love it.

Lavender Luz said...

How liberating!

I love that you named it Ralph.

It *is* perfect when we begin to love ourselves just as we are.

If we see each other this summer, it will definitely involve calories.

Erika said...

Such a great post! I'm so glad you're happier with your body image!
I've never been one to obsess about my body or my image... Luckily, I never cared what anyone, EVER, thought of me. I still don't too much...Probably why when my sister was visiting the last two weeks said "You really are a girl!" When she found out I had a nail file, polish, etc.

Oh, and I love the idea of naming it! How great is that!

Amy said...

Love this! Glad to hear you found a way to accept your body and maybe even love it a bit. Good for you.

I have a bit of a tummy (for me) since having Liam. I remind myself this is my mommy tummy, but then I don't have my baby, so that does not always make me feel better. I have started to accept I will never get back the flat tummy I had before having a baby. The shirts I used to wear are no longer in my wardrobe and new styles are being bought.

My friend and I named our "girls". My Righty was Ralph and my Lefty was Francine!

We girls are so silly sometimes!

Nina said...

Ice cream, cookies, pasta, egg sandwiches, and pizza are their own food group, thank-you-very-much, and I defy you to find a real woman that disagrees! Congrats on the paradigm shift! I saw a pic of myself from high school recently and was wondering "Now just why the hell wasn't I showing that off? I sure don't look like that now, and am not a bit shy!" I guess it's all a matter of perspective!

Martha said...

Great post and I am in awe of my body now at the age of 47 y/o instead of so critical.
Thank you for this and also your nice comment on my blog.

Clare said...

Yay for fat pants! And for flowy tops - i can thus create the image that I have a flat stomach underneath, perhaps. I love that you named your belly Ralph! Hilarious! I think I might name mine too - hmm... Philip maybe?

Mary said...

I love thaat you nick-named your stomach!! I think every woman out there has body issues no matter how skinny or heavy. At 32, I have finally accepted my body type. It took a LONG time for me to do that though!!!

Just Caz said...

I tagged you for an award in my blog

Lisa RM said...

Beautifully said.


Deathstar said...

If I named every part of me that stuck out I'd have multiple personality disorder! :) Love this post. I still struggle with my body image and IF made it worse.

theworms said...

Great post.


Amber said...

What a wonderful post thanks for sharing! I share in some of the same feelings about my self image but have tried to get over it as much as I can.

christina said...

Great post! I am with you on the lycra shirts! I'm glad you've figured out how to come into your own!


A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

"Ralph." fun that you and your roomie named your stomachs.

I really enjoyed your post and am pleased that you've found acceptance of your body. :)


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